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Black Intellects
I think there's one thing that we can all agree on: we're human… 
11th-May-2009 02:30 pm
I think there's one thing that we can all agree on: we're human beings first and foremost. When issues like race, gender, sexuality, and religion are seen instead of the human being behind the skin, it's dehumanizing. If someone were to look at me and only see my brown skin without considering the human I am, then I am being dehumanized.

Are movements that force us to look at race, gender, sexuality, religion, etc. helpful? Of course, they're helpful in the way that they're protecting those being attacked by oppressive systems - but at the base of most movements is the basic want to be treated the same as others, to not be considered "the other." It's a catch 22: by wanting the same rights, we have to acknowledge our identities - thus making us "the other" AND dehumanizing ourselves.

It's just been a thought I've personally been struggling with. I want to be a human being first and foremost, but I also want people to be aware of my race, gender, sexuality, religion. Every time I speak about my race, I feel like I'm asking people to look at my brown skin first, rather than consider the person I am.
Comments 
11th-May-2009 07:00 pm (UTC)
I can relate. I lived a life for 20 years where I was constantly dehumanized. I am now just understanding how that has shaped my views of the world beyond myself and my ability to trust other humans.
11th-May-2009 10:29 pm (UTC)
I don't see a difference between being a human and being a black human. It's the same thing to me.
12th-May-2009 02:14 am (UTC)
"Black" comes with so many connotations that it immediately comes along with stigmas and stereotypes, covering the human being beneath.
12th-May-2009 03:09 am (UTC)
Is a German Shepard a dog or a German Shepard? It's both, and it cannot be one without the other. That's the point of it being a German Shepard.

I was born with the genetic material to be black female human. That's the point.

If other people have a problem with that, it rests with them, not with me. Sometimes it can be frustrating to get people to get rid of their stereotypes about what kind of human I am, but again, it's their problem if they never get over their own issues.
12th-May-2009 03:20 am (UTC)
It's definitely a beautiful thing to be at peace with yourself like that, but I personally feel that what makes a person's identity is not only self-perception but how others view that person. After all, part of the identity of being black is also because others can see our skin and thus call us black. If some of those stereotypes go along with it, and if the general population agrees on those stereotypes, then that becomes part of our public identity as well.
13th-May-2009 06:10 pm (UTC)
But we're not talking about public identity--we're talking about our own personal identity.

If The Public sees me as a "ghetto black girl" --whatever that means to The Public-- The Public is wrong. Just as we know the sun doesn't revolve around the Earth, and the seas don't drop off into space.
12th-May-2009 06:41 pm (UTC)
I am me first and foremost. I know what I care about and what I do not like. I do not need to prove anything to anyone.
13th-May-2009 08:32 am (UTC)
I agree with keeni84

The problem isn't in acknowledging things that make us different. You don't see just a thing with two arms, two legs and a head when you look at people, right?

I see a woman, a man, a man with dark hair, and woman with light hair...

The problem isn't acknowledging the differences.

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder..." the problem is that we have been trained by our society to see an aspect of a person and attach a million meanings to what we see, instead of just accepting "_____ has brown skin.
________ has red skin. _______ has yellow skin."

I would recommend the book, "covering" by Kenji Yoshino to you. From a review: "a... protest against the hidden prejudices embedded in American civil rights legislation—legislation that tacitly apologizes for "immutable" human difference from the white, male, straight norm, rather than defending one's "right to say what one is."

In other words, he argues that it is not "being different" that is the problem, but not being white, male, healthy, and Protestant, which has somehow become the "norm" in this country, the rest being "abnormal" if they can't at least act that way.

I have had another thought about this same topic which is that, if you look at people in Africa/immigrated from Africa (where they grow up surrounded by people of color, usually, and it is "the norm" to be black), you don't notice the same air of stigma around them as with American Blacks. They feel comfortable in their skin because they have never been told it is "wrong".

I hope there is a day when we just notice differences and say, "Oh." Instead of saying, "filthy, broke, criminal, no-good, etc. etc."

-- Zahdi
19th-Jan-2010 01:03 am (UTC)
in my mind, we're all of the same species which cannot be classified any lower. we all need air to breathe, food to eat, and water to drink. so yes. we are humans first. it matters not the issues we choose to destroy each other over.
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